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What do we mean by “chargeable” time for inside lawyers?

An important metric for law department managers is fully-loaded cost per lawyer hour (See my post of May 14, 2006 with links.). To calculate that number, a general counsel needs to know the average number of hours that the lawyers in the department charge (or might charge if they tracked time) their clients in a year (See my post of Sept. 25, 2005 on the typical number: 1,850 hours.).

During a recent consulting project, I came up with this definition of “chargeable” (See my post of May 3, 2006 on other key definitions.). Count time as “chargeable” when you are working on any project for or requested by your client, but not if you are doing something that members of the law department do to maintain its operations, such as evaluations of law firms or members, software selection, CLE, professional development, staff meetings, retreats, budgeting and other administrative or organizational activities.